One of the most important aspects of in-home caregiving is maintaining a safe environment. When considering safety precautions for Alzheimer’s patients, we typically think of things like securing sharp objects and toxic substances, covering electrical outlets, and taking appropriate precautions with kitchen appliances.
Here are 10 less common, yet vital, tips for keeping your loved one safe at home!
- Place a foam or rubber cover over the bathtub faucet to reduce risk of serious injury should your loved one slip and fall.
- Set the water heater no higher than 120F to prevent accidental scalding.
- Keep all medications – OTC and prescription – in a safe location. Consider using a plastic toolbox that can be secured with a padlock and placed on a high shelf or atop the refrigerator.
- Remove locks from interior doors (e.g. bedroom, bathroom) to prevent your loved one from accidentally locking himself/herself in.
- Use textured strips or nonskid wax on hardwood and tile floors as well to prevent slipping. When placing nonskid strips in the tub and shower, also consider placing them on the floor near the tub, shower, sink, and toilet.
- Avoid using decorative artificial fruits or vegetables and food shaped magnets. Someone with Alzheimer’s may confuse these with edible items. Store plastic bags out of reach to avoid suffocation.
- Consider installing a baby monitor so that you will know when your loved one is moving around and potentially at risk for a fall. This will help to ensure that you hear them call for you if they need help.
- Mark glass panes by placing decorative decals at eye level on glass doors and windows.
- Adjust home phone and voice mail settings. Lower the volume on the ringer to prevent confusion and set voice mail to pick up after a minimal number of rings. An Alzheimer’s patient answering the phone is an easy target for exploitation. Consider a “No Soliciting” sign on the front door.
- Use nightlights throughout the house. Don’t forget the kitchen, bathrooms, hallways, and near stairs.
For many more useful tips, please visit the National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center to download the free publication, Home Safety for People with Alzheimer’s Disease.
What tips have you found particularly useful? We’d love to hear your input!